7 Benefits of Yoga for Your Body and Mind
Sep 13, 2018
You probably already know exercise is good for health and longevity. But did you know yoga can provide the same benefits as other forms of exercise—and then some?
Let’s look at the top benefits of yoga and why you might want to consider adding it to your own health and fitness routine.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a practice that combines spiritual, physical and mental aspects from ancient India. It’s now practiced by many health-conscious people in America for various reasons.
There are many, many different forms of yoga, including:
- Restorative yoga, which focuses on deep breathing and slow, minimal poses
- Ashtanga yoga, intense form of yoga with lots of vinyasas, or flowing poses, to create heat and tone and strengthen the body
- Kundalini yoga, which incorporates breathing, meditation, movement, and mantra chanting
- Vinyasa yoga, also known as power yoga, the most athletic yoga style that combines movement with the breath
Since there are so many ways to do yoga, it offers something for everyone—whether you want a slow class for stress support or a more athletic-style class to build strength.
Here are some life-changing benefits of yoga for your whole being.
#1 Yoga for Flexibility
Since so much of yoga is holding poses that stretch and lengthen the muscles, it’s amazing for increasing flexibility. Being more flexible helps prevent injury during exercise and also makes everyday movement easier. It’s a great complement to any healthy, active lifestyle.
#2 Yoga for Stress and Mental Health
One of the best things about yoga is how it can help us reduce and manage stress by bringing you back to the present moment. With the incorporation of breathing (and often meditation), yoga helps improve body awareness and brings a deeper sense of calm and balance.
Yoga may also help improve concentration, making it easier to navigate each day with more consciousness.
#3 Yoga for Better Sleep
If you struggle with insomnia or just not getting enough quality sleep, yoga before bed can help calm your system and connect with your body to reduce stressful thoughts.
Try a few restorative yoga poses before bedtime to relax and remind your body (and mind!) it’s time to stop and rest.
#4 Yoga for Weight Loss
General health guidelines typically recommend we get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day. Although some yoga is very gentle, more active yoga types, such as power yoga and ashtanga yoga, get your heart pumping and count as at least moderate exercise.
Any regular exercise routine can help with weight loss and weight management, and that includes yoga. Plus, yoga often incorporates twisting poses, which are great for detoxing and cleansing to support better digestion.
The mind-body aspect of yoga can also help reduce emotional distress that may contribute to emotional eating or the body holding onto excess weight.
#5 Yoga for a Stronger, More Toned Body
In yoga, you’re utilizing your own body weight to shift into each pose and stretch. This helps strengthen and tone your body throughout each practice. At the same time, you’re building your core strength, which is important for everyday movement and better athletic performance.
#6 Yoga for Pain
Having chronic pain can actually alter your brain structure and cognitive function, which is often linked to anxiety and depression. On the flipside, recent research has shown yoga can do the opposite and actually help relieve chronic pain.
#7 Yoga for Everybody
And here’s the truly best thing about yoga: It’s for everyone!
Yoga is all about beginning where you are, and each person can find the type of yoga that fits their needs best. No matter your age, fitness level, or stage of life, you can experience the benefits of yoga in both mind and body. It’s just another helpful tool for staying healthy, happy, and balanced in life!